—“This is the moment we’ve waited for, the second-generation XC90,” said Bodil Eriksson, a Volvo executive vice president. Much is expected of the four-years-in-the-making SUV in the American market, a critical one for the company. The XC90 comes in several T6 gas versions, and as the T8 it is also the world’s first seven-seat SUV plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV). Despite a history of innovation in the field, this is Volvo’s first U.S. hybrid of any kind.
The XC90 sits on Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) chassis, which is set up for electrification. SPA will be the basis for all new Volvo models, and it’s clear that plug-in hybrids (but not full electrics) will be very important to the company going forward. Volvo has been selling the V60 diesel hybrid very successfully in Europe, but it’s probably right that limited American taste for diesels would keep it a niche vehicle in the U.S.
So this PHEV runs on gas, and is very quick about it, too. The 400-horsepower T8, in fact, will get to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, making it faster than the regular gas version (which, a test ride proved, is also pretty brisk). Volvo has gotten out of the five- and six-cylinder business; its new line of turbo- and supercharged Drive-E engines are all four-cylinder. The XC90's four produces 318 horsepower, and its mated to an eight-speed automatic. The 82 horsepower electric motor powers the rear wheels, and drives off a 9.2 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.